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Author Topic: Differences in modeling throughout the world  (Read 17088 times)
Skarloey Railway

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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2013, 07:48:49 PM »

And as I earn 100% of my living in technical theatre, I couldn't agree more.  Smiley


Interesting. You could have some useful thoughts on the way a model railroad/way presents itself to the observer (audience) I have thought of it as a series of scenes arranged linearly, each separated by some form of visual or physical scene-break representing either something not modelled or elapsed time between scenes. (I should admit that I am a modeller only in theory nowadays, though I was a railway modeller into my early twenties (ie, thirty years ago) and was a professional modelmaker for many years so have practical experience as well.) In a scene involving a passing siding or spur or station there is both the setting for the scene and implied drama/action (or at least the potential for drama/action) within the scene. But as I said above, for narrow-gauge particularly, and for any gauge in general, the norm on a railroad is miles of plain single or double track with pockets of more complex trackwork here and there - the reverse of what we see on most models.

What I haven't figured out is a way to give the lengths of plain track connecting our sidings, spurs and stations any kind of action at all. This is odd because on the real thing the action of driving, firing and conducting does not let up in between stops. It has occurred to me that some kind of combination of scale modelling for loops, spurs and stations combined with computer modelling of the miles of track in between might more accurately reflect RR practise and the experience of being in charge of an engine.
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GG1onFordsDTandI
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2013, 09:16:43 PM »

OK ...no 3d layout guesses... It is a map of the tracks of the M&LRTCL Merioneth and Llantisilly Railway Traction Company Limited, home to Ivor the Engine, and Edwin Jones "the Steam", his driver. I'm not sure if its that obscure, or if I'm just that much older, but that's what it is. Have you at least heard of them? I thought he was mildly popular at least.
 

I was a fan of Ivor but had no idea his line was anything like as complicated. It resembles the map of the London Underground more than anything in North Wales.

I "looped" the mainline ends together underground  Grin...Silly me Wink
But the rest is pretty close to an illustrated map.


Thanks to all for supplying an interesting read! Please keep it rolling!
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jward


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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2013, 09:45:00 PM »

you cannot model what it's like to actually run an engine. I've run them, and even the computer simulators don't really capture the experience. on a model railroad the closest you can get would be to crank up the momentum settings all the way and try to run your train, having to change your throttle and brake settings and wait forever for the changes to take effect. you don't get the effect of the train kicking you in the butt as you start down a hill, you can't pull against the brakes, you have no dynamic braking to play with and you don't have to worry about your train getting away from you while you desperately try to recharge the air pressure because you used up all your air.

running an engine is an art form that even many of the professionals never truly master.


with some of the train simulators, you can get some of this effect but not all.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
GG1onFordsDTandI
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« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2013, 11:53:03 PM »

Having never run a loco, I wouldn't know. The control sensations are known only to those who have done it, for sure. The closest Ive come would be a front open car rider, "feeling", and hearing, the load shift behind us after an apex. The momentum and load, I think get in concept. Similar to the runaway effect of riding level into a curve, very heavy, then an immediate 7% downhill, with another 0-27 curve at the bottom, run in conventional. 12v to 4v max sudden drop, one chance to get it right, too soon you stall, to late, or not enough, you jump, too much drop, you hit neutral/reverse, worse than the stall. Looks like controlling that old EL-C rectifier, by necessity, is a bit more prototypical than my modeling. No wonder its enough to keep me occupied Wink.    
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:09:46 AM by GG1onFordsDTandI » Logged
rogertra


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« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2013, 12:10:26 AM »

 Skarloey Railway asked about what to do with scenery between towns, how to make it interesting and how to recreate the feeling of driving, firing and conducting between stops.

Well, you can't.  It's that simple.

The distances between modelled towns, even on the largest of model railroads is insignificant compared to the real thing.  Add to that it is impossible to recreate the actual operating and firing of a locomotive on a model railroad when, in fact, you are not "operating the locomotive" you are standing next to it running it remotely as a line side observer.  Yes, some of us, myself included, like to operate our locomotives and thus our trains in a realistic fashion and at realistic speeds between towns and when switching etc..  But we are still a line side observer, we are not running the locomotive.

As for what to do with the scenery between towns the answer is, nothing.  Nothing beyond nice scenery but nothing eye-catching.  As mentioned above, the distances between our towns is insignificant compared to the real thing.  Even on the largest model railroads, the distance between towns is what, three train lengths at most and how many of us are lucky enough to have that sort of space?  For most of us, as the head end is arriving in the second town, the caboose is just leaving the first town.  So the trick is, do not draw attention to the short gap between towns.

Sure, you can have a bridge over a river, that's nice, putting in a grade crossing is a good idea, you get to blow a 14L and ring the bell but mainly, boringly simple but well done scenery is all you need so as not to draw attention to the short gap between towns.  Let the viewer's eye be drawn to the interesting buildings and industries that are in your towns, this will make your model railroad look bigger.

Like Jeff Ward, I've also operated locomotives up to an RS-3 and I've also fired and driven steam locos.  Not in road freight service but in yard service and passenger service and nothing on the market comes even close to emulating that feeling.  Not MSTS nor Trainz and not even the best one of all, Train Simulator.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 12:20:07 AM by rogertra » Logged

Skarloey Railway

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« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2013, 07:58:44 AM »

You see, Roger, if that was the space I was limited with I would only model one location and everything else would be represented by the staging. I doubt most of you would even consider this a layout, but one of my favourites on the exhibition circuit is 'Dungeness Sidings'.  http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/15082-camrail-2010-including-photographic-retrospective/ and scroll down about halfway. It's one yard of plain gauge 1 track on a sleep-built retaining wall surrounded by a lot of shingle but it is very evocative of time and space, albeit a little low on operation.

But I would disagree with your approach to scenery partly because I prefer scenery to towns in real life and partly because the landscape is a dominant feature for most of the narrow gauge prototypes I prefer, such as on the Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco in Chile: http://www.railpictures.net/photo/431208/

I agree with others that train simulators do not evoke standing on the footplate. I've only been on the footplate of a handful of small NG prototypes and the pitch yaw and roll along with the smell are pretty intense experiences and cannot be replicated on a PC. However, needing to 'drive' the train and manage the grades and curves for a length of time between stops must be better than a thirty second squeeze on the throttle as you clear one yard throat and enter the next.

Colin.
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Desertdweller

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« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2013, 11:23:57 AM »

I agree that there are no good answers for the problem of too little run space, and lack of realistic control.

On my own model railroad, the problem of too little space between between towns was solved by modeling only one town.  Nothing ever truly leaves town!  Trains arrive and depart, and operate at restricted speed.
Trains arrive and depart by having their consists removed on a fiddle track, after pulling out of the passenger terminal.  Trains laying over between arrival and departure are held on tracks, and power is run to their respective engine terminals.
This is helped by the fact that on my railroad, the first train of the day arrives at 4:30am and the last one leaves at 9:30pm.  Then the terminal is empty until the next day.  This is based on the actual operation of the location modeled.
As was typical of big-city terminals, arrivals end to be early to mid-morning, and departures tend to be early evening.  The pace slows down in the afternoon.  This allows passengers a full business day in the city, after traveling overnight from their originating city.  And by going home in the early evening, they can get a night's rest aboard the train before arriving back at their home.

Momentum can give you some degree of realism, although I've advised against DCC for cost/benefit reasons.
Not all actual locomotives take a lot of time to get going.  I remember trying out an N-scale locomotive at a hobby shop.  The test track had a momentum throttle, but the loco was not DCC-equipped.

I opened the throttle, and nothing happened.  This was with a single light unit.  Being used to running actual locomotives, I opened the throttle a bit more.  Suddenly the loco started moving backwards, right off the end of the track!
"A little slow to load", I observed.

Maybe a good momentum-equipped power pack would be a good compromise for those wanting momentum but wanting to avoid DCC.

 I really like the concept of hidden staging tracks, but lack the space to develop this concept.  I do have a long stretch of single-track mainline behind the backdrop of the railroad that I can store long trains out of sight in.

The key to running actual trains is to know how to control the air brakes and dynamic brakes in order to control the slack in the train.  Think of it as playing an accordion.  You need to try to keep it stretched or bunched as much as possible, to keep slack from running in and out of the train.  That can result in a very rough ride and possible broken coupler knuckles.  And if you have a lot of horsepower on the head end, you can break a coupler knuckle simply by accelerating too quickly, especially if the slack isn't run out.

On a model railroad, you haven't got a chance of duplicating that.  The cars cannot be braked independently of the locomotives, and model passenger trains use the same coupler systems that the freight trains do.  Thus passenger trains have the same slack considerations as freight trains.  I've never run actual passenger trains, but I've run trains with occupied business cars in them.  You have to be extremely careful not to jolt the cars.

Maybe, if realism in controlling the model were the top priority, the best solution would be to link a train driver type computer simulation with the control system on a model railroad.  A micro-camera in the locomotive cab could put a display on the computer screen of the track ahead.  I have operated full-sized loco simulators and they are quite realistic.  But even they have a graphic on the display screen that shows the location of the slack in the train.

Les
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rogertra


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« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2013, 01:38:09 PM »

My 30 x 10 foot (at present) model railroad is only one yard.  See photos in other threads.

This 30 foot yard occupies one side of the room and, for now, through staging occupies the other side of the room with two other reverse loop staging yards, located in another room and remotely operated via a video link,  planed for the future.

So, unlike the vast majority of North American model railroads, I have only one yard.  A model of a minor division point.

As for running and or operating the trains.  As I said below, we do not run our locomotives like real engineers, that's impossible.  For a start, we are a line side observer, we are not in a cab.  All we try to do, at least those of us who are not just playing trains, is try to visually duplicate the actions of a real locomotive and or train.  Momentum, for example, is another simulation, not an "operation".  Ditto for braking and acceleration, all we are trying to do is visually simulate what real trains do, we are not actually duplicating anything.

To me, "operation" is what it's all about.  The scenery is just a supporting player.  Yes, I like my scenery to look real but the main goal is realistic and prototypical operation.

A commuter train from Montreal arrives in Track One the main track.  The 4-6-2 uncouples and runs eastward towards the roundhouse complex.  Meanwhile, the 0-6-0 yard engine backs off the Yard Lead onto the main track, stops and then pulls forward to couple onto the three commuter cars sitting on Track One, the main track.  He then backs up, clear of the commuter bay track.  The next move shoves the commuter cars into track two, a bay platform where they are serviced and lay over for tomorrow's run.  The 0-6-0 returns to the Yard Lead.

Meanwhile, the 4-6-2 has run eastward to the end of the yard and has backed onto the roundhouse lead at the yard's east end.  Here it is watered and sanded.  It then draws forward onto the service track and stops over the ash pit where its fire is cleaned.  Once the fire is cleaned it pulls forward under the coaling tower where the tender bunker is filled.  Next move is onto the turntable.  If the engine has no additional service required and is not assigned to another run, it's turned on the 'table to face westward and stabled on one of the field tracks to await tomorrow's commuter run.  If a boiler washout is scheduled or some maintenance work is required, it is sent nose first into the appropriate roundhouse stall for the work to be done.  Yes, my roundhouse stalls are assigned functions, just like the real ones. Stall one, for instance, is the boiler washout stall.  Smiley

Then there's freight, with the setting out and adding cuts of cars to various through freights, switching local industries, originating and terminating main line and branch way freights, originating and terminating connecting railroad interchange freights etc., etc.. I have two switchers working most of the "day" just to keep up.  One switches the freight yard and one takes care of the industrial switching and the passenger train switching.   A 24 hour operating session runs in excess of four hours.

That's what I'm into and try to simulate on my model railroad.  Taking a train and letting run around aimlessly has no interest for me.  It's the day to day, prototypical work done in and around the yard is what is interesting.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 01:45:49 PM by rogertra » Logged

Skarloey Railway

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« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2013, 02:48:39 PM »

I'm not trying to say there's only one way to do anything and you've clearly found what works for you.   In the railroads I'm interested in operation was pretty low key, the Talyllyn, where my interest in proper railways (as opposed to toy trains) began, pre-preservation had two-three trains a day, max, and operated under a one engine in steam policy. Probably your average branch terminus in standard gauge is not much different. For such prototypes factors other than operation has to take precedence.

I agree with you that on a model RR the operator's view is currently that of a bystander, as it has been since the very first model railway. To overcome that we have accepted certain compromises, one of which is the impossibility of modelling scale size between towns and accepting a great deal of compression within our yard limits. What interests me now is whether modern computer and optical technology can be applied to model railways to more faithfully replicate the real thing. For example, two modelled yards and a PC running a simulation of the thirty miles of trackage linking them could be more prototypical than turning a blind eye to the fact that only ten feet separate your yard limits.

Think of this. Thirty years ago my only opportunity for talking to railway modellers was once a week at my local club, I typed on a manual typewriter, my music was vinyl and my books were made of trees. Today I can talk to modellers across the world at the click of a button, my music is MP3s and FLAC, I'm about to buy an e-reader to replace my books, and I write on a laptop. But in thirty years, with the exception of sound equipped locos and DCC, model railways hasn't change much at all. For some that may be an attraction but I think we are missing opportunities to transform the hobby by combining the craft of modelling with the unlimited possibilities of virtual reality through computer simulation.
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rogertra


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« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2013, 05:42:04 PM »

Skarloey Railway.

You raise some interesting points when it comes to computer simulation for gap between our stations.

I tried that on MSTS  back when it was fairly new but got frustrated with the programming and went back to model railroading.  Smiley

However, it is a good idea and, as you have mentioned, who knows what the future will bring.

I do know of several modellers who model north American short lines with one train per day and, if you have a reasonable amount of space for a 50 to 100 foot "main line", even with a run from an interchange (modelled staging) through one or two "towns", and operate in a realistic manner, a two men train crew can keep you busy for a few hours. 

Even my industrial yard can take me a couple of real hours to switch when operating at scale speeds, stopping at grade crossings for them to be flagged etc., etc..  Much more interesting, to me, than watching a train run around a circle of track.

BTW, I've been to the Talyllyn and all the other Welsh narrow gauge and standard gauge railways for that matter but sadly only when the "heritage" lines became big train sets.

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Desertdweller

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« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2013, 06:30:56 PM »

I use a reverse loop to turn my passenger train consists.  I think the place modeled used wyes, but I do not have the space for them.

The terminal is a run-through design, but wasn't used that way during the period I model.  Everything arrives either from the north or south, and leaves in the same direction.  The only exception is one train that has some through cars that are given to another railroad.  I have another train that arrives from the north on one railroad, and departs to the north on another.  So, it has to be turned and power has to be changed.

I've never tried to do a complete operating "day" in one session.

I like the concept of Roger's roundhouse, where stalls are assigned to functions servicing steam engines.  My regular operations are Dieselized, so the roundhouse at the one terminal that still has one parks it's (and its tenant road's) locomotives in it.  Usually, I park the same locomotive in an assigned stall just to help me remember what is in there.  There are six stalls, and three outdoor "garden" tracks.

Les

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Skarloey Railway

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« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2013, 07:10:15 PM »

BTW, I've been to the Talyllyn and all the other Welsh narrow gauge and standard gauge railways for that matter but sadly only when the "heritage" lines became big train sets.

I read Tom Rolt's railway Adventure at an impressionable age and was captivated by its depiction of an antique line and its precarious existence. 1977 aged 16 I spent two weeks volunteering on the line and was unhappy to discover how much had been lost in the effort to preserve. Having walked the trackbed of the old Welsh Highland line back in the 80s I've also had misgivings about its rebuild. Somehow the indent of sleepers in a grassed-over trackbed is better preservation than a rebuilt with pressed-steel sleepers and Garratt locos repatriated from S. Africa hauling eleven car trains.
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Desertdweller

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« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2013, 07:41:49 PM »

Skarl,

Well, the railroad has to make money to exist.  Apparently, the authentic power is not up to hauling the size trains needed to satisfy the public's demand.  In a sense, it is too bad, because the historic flavor of the line is lost.

I think most of this is lost on the tourists.  If it is anything like narrow-gauge operations in the US, the very idea of riding a steam train (or any train) is enough of a novelty to draw their business.

There are many places in this country where the very experience of riding a train is a tourist draw.  It doesn't even have to be a steam train.  The parts of the country where train riding is used as everyday transportation are few, and limited to very densely populated areas.  The rest of the country are mostly devoid of passenger trains, or, at most, limited to one train a day in each direction with stations many miles apart.  Many heavy freight trunk lines have no passenger trains at all.

I used to work for a railroad that had begun as an end-to-end merger of two narrow-gauge lines.  It was changed to standard gauge and was the route of the first streamlined passenger train in the region.  By the time I got there, it was a freight-only short line.  Small stretches of the original track roadbed remained in places as a reminder.

Les
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rogertra


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« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2013, 09:48:25 PM »

Way back in the 1970s, I was a steward (not the waiter type) on a steam excursion behind 6218 from Montreal to Portland Me..

We stopped at Berlin Me. to have the tender filled by the local fire department and as we were waiting , we let the local kids on board.

"Wow, there's seats in here!" was heard several times.  They'd never seen a passenger train, only freight.

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jward


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« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2013, 10:09:01 PM »

I do feel some comment s regarding skarloey's comments are in order. with regards to distance between towns, if your cabin is still in one yard and the engine entering the other the problem is your train is too long for the layout. things need to be selectively compressed. since we all have limited space to work with, we must make some compromises. on my own painfully small layout, my compromise was to loosely model the 1970s, use mostly 40 foot cars and first generation diesels like the rs3 and gp9, and to limit train length to about 5 cars.

my current layout occupies 30 sq ft.    for those mathematically challenged, a 4x8 sheet of plywood is 32 sq ft.

in this space I was able to get a small yard in one town, a switching area in another town, and another industrial siding. I have a twice around loop for continuous running, a turntable in the yard, and a wye for turning things at the other end of the line. this is all done in HO scale, with a minimum radius of 18" and #5switches.   it can be done, and done in a way that doesn't look like a toy, but you have to be creative about it. with limited horizontal space you have to think vertically, for example.

my experience running previous incarnations of my layout, and other's layouts, is that there is a practical limit of about 20-25 cars if you intend to operate like a real railroad. longer than that and you run into trouble breaking trains down in the yard. long cuts of cars do not back well due to the significant train weight.

small industries which can handle 1 or 2 cars will work better than massive ones which dominate the limited space we have. likewise, I find that a winding mainline is preferable to a straight one. it males the space seem larger. also yards can and I feel should be on curves, as the often are in real life. only the areas near the ladder, where cars are coupled and uncoupled need to be straight.

for staging yards, my experience is that loop types are preferable to dead end ones. for one thing, they're self staging. you don't have to pull a train out and turn it around before it is ready to go again. and with regards to fiddle yards, the less we handle the the equipment, the better the details hold up.

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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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